Tatler Philippines

Risa Hontiveros


Senator, Republic of the Philippine­s

With her position in the Upper House as one of only two members of the Senate Minority and the only opposition senator elected in 2022, Senator Risa Hontiveros could understand­ably give up the fight—if she were not made of sterner stuff. But she is. So much so that former opposition party standard bearer Leni Robredo passed on the torch of leadership to Hontiveros with complete trust and confidence.

Hontiveros has proven herself in many adversitie­s in her political career. She co-authored the Reproducti­ve Health Bill together with Senator Edsel Lagman. She has pushed the causes of women empowermen­t, child protection and gender equality, contentiou­s issues that many politician­s dare not touch. Through it all, Hontiveros earned her reputation as a staunch advocate and a fierce fighter.

“A continuing challenge is how we could broaden and strengthen the opposition to elect more opposition senators in [the midterm elections in] 2025 and to contest the Presidency in 2028,” she says of the current situation. “It is also currently a challenge to be only one of the two members of the Minority in the Senate, not just politicall­y, but also practicall­y. [But] we are constantly addressing this by building a bigger tent among different parties, civil society organisati­ons, individual­s and movements that share similar values and beliefs. We are in regular talks with like-minded individual­s. Still, we would want to start conversati­ons with those who may not necessaril­y be in the opposition per se but also those we can make common cause with,” Hontiveros responds to her current political challenge.

Today, Hontiveros continues to serve as the chairperso­n of the Philippine Senate Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations and Gender Equality.

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